20 Big Lots Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Big Lots.

Big Lots is a retail company with over 1,400 stores in 47 states. They sell a variety of items including furniture, home decor, toys, and electronics. Big Lots is a great place to work with a variety of benefits and a friendly work environment.

When it comes to interviewing at Big Lots, you can expect to be asked questions about your experience working with the public, your availability, and your ability to lift heavy objects. You may also be asked questions about your experience in customer service and your ability to handle difficult situations.

Answering these questions honestly and with examples of your past experience is the best way to impress the interviewer and land the job.

Big Lots Interview Process

The interview process at Big Lots can vary depending on the position you are applying for. For Store Manager, Sales Associate/Cashier, Assistant Manager, and Store Team Leader positions, the interview process typically consists of an initial phone screen with a recruiter, followed by one or more in-person interviews with a hiring manager. For Furniture Sales Associate positions, the interview process may also include a skills assessment.

Overall, the interview process is generally not too difficult, although the questions can be somewhat behavioral in nature. The interviews are usually fairly short, lasting no more than 30 minutes each. Overall, the interview experience is generally positive, with most applicants finding the staff to be friendly and helpful.

1. What do you think the most important quality for a manager to have is?

This question is a great way to assess how you would fit into the company culture. When answering, it can be beneficial to mention a quality that you have and explain why it’s important.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities for a manager to have is empathy. I believe that being empathetic allows you to understand your employees’ needs and concerns. It also helps you create an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions or expressing their opinions. This leads to more open communication and better collaboration.”

2. Describe your experience with customer service.

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have experience with customer service and how it relates to the position. You can use examples from previous work experiences or personal life, such as working in retail or serving customers at a restaurant.

Example: “In my last job, I was responsible for answering phones and helping customers find what they were looking for. One time, a customer called asking about our clearance items. I explained to them which aisle to look in and helped them find exactly what they needed. Another time, a customer asked me if we had any more of a certain item in stock. I checked our inventory system and told them we did have some left.”

3. How would you handle an unhappy customer?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle customer service situations. Use examples from your previous experience to show that you’re a problem solver and enjoy helping customers.

Example: “I once had a customer who was upset because they couldn’t find an item on sale. I explained that we don’t have control over when items go on sale, but I offered them 10% off their entire purchase as a way to make up for it. They were happy with this solution and left the store satisfied. Another time, a customer returned something without a receipt. I looked up their information in our system and found the transaction. I then gave them the money back.”

4. Have you had any prior experience working in retail?

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your background and how it relates to this position. If you have retail experience, share what you learned from that job and how it applies to working at Big Lots.

Example: “I worked in a clothing store for two years while I was in college. It was a small shop with only one other employee, so I had to do everything from folding clothes to helping customers find sizes. This taught me how to multitask and work independently, which are skills I use every day at my current job.”

5. Would you be comfortable answering phone calls and helping customers over the phone?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your customer service skills. They want to know that you are willing to help customers over the phone and can provide excellent customer service. When answering this question, make sure to highlight your communication skills and ability to solve problems for customers over the phone.

Example: “I have worked in retail before, so I am very comfortable speaking with customers over the phone. In my last position, I was often the person who helped customers over the phone because I had more experience than other employees. I enjoy helping people find what they need and solving their problems. If there’s anything I can do to help them, I will go above and beyond.”

6. Do you like working as part of a team or independently?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you might fit in with their team. If you’re interviewing for a management position, this is an opportunity to show your leadership skills and ability to work as part of a team.

Example: “I enjoy working both independently and collaboratively. I find that when I’m working on my own, I have more time to think through problems and come up with solutions. However, I also like collaborating with others because it gives me new perspectives and ideas. In my last role, I worked mostly independently but would regularly meet with my manager to discuss projects and get feedback.”

7. Why do you want to work at Big Lots?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about Big Lots that interests you or what drew you to apply for the position.

Example: “I want to work at Big Lots because I love how affordable your products are. My family has shopped here for years, so I’ve seen firsthand how much money we have saved by shopping here. I think my customer service skills would be an asset to your team as well.”

8. Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize tasks, how did you decide what comes first?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you prioritize your tasks and what skills you use to make decisions. Use examples from previous work experiences that highlight your ability to think critically, analyze information and make quick decisions.

Example: “In my last role as a customer service representative, I had to prioritize several tasks each day. One of my main priorities was always ensuring customers were happy with their experience. If they called in with an issue or concern, I would first apologize for any inconvenience and then try to resolve it as quickly as possible. Another priority was responding to emails within 24 hours. This helped me build strong relationships with coworkers and customers.”

9. What are your short term & long term career goals?

Employers ask this question to see if you have a plan for your career. They want to know that you are motivated and driven, but also realistic about what it takes to get ahead in their company. When answering this question, be honest about your goals and how they align with the job you’re applying for. If you don’t have specific goals yet, explain why you haven’t made them yet and what you might do to set some.

Example: “I am currently working toward my CPA certification. I’ve been studying hard and hope to pass the exam by next year. In the meantime, I would like to continue to work at Big Lots while gaining more experience in accounting. After passing the exam, I would like to apply for an accountant position here.”

10. Are you available to work nights and weekends?

Big Lots is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The interviewer wants to know if you’re willing to work these hours and how your schedule looks. If you have other obligations that prevent you from working nights or weekends, be honest about it. However, if you can work these shifts, explain why you are available.

Example: “I am currently single with no children, so I’m able to work any shift. My only obligation is my job, which I take very seriously. I would never miss a shift unless there was an emergency.”

11. What do you know about Big Lots?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your knowledge of their company. They want to know that you have done some research on the company and are familiar with its history, products and services. When answering this question, make sure to include information that shows you did your homework before the interview.

Example: “I am very familiar with Big Lots because I shop there often. In fact, my family has shopped at Big Lots since it opened in 1985. The store offers low prices on many items, including furniture, toys, seasonal decorations and home goods. It also has an online shopping platform where customers can order items from the comfort of their own homes.”

12. Can you tell us about your experience handling money and operating a cash register?

This question is an opportunity to show your skills with numbers and math. If you have experience operating a cash register, describe how you did it and what kind of challenges you faced. If you don’t have any experience, explain that you are willing to learn.

Example: “I’ve worked as a barista at a coffee shop for the past two years. I am used to handling money and making change. However, there were times when we had long lines and I was overwhelmed by the number of orders. I learned to prioritize customers’ orders so that everyone got their drinks in a timely manner.”

13. Do you think it is important to work on your personal development? If so, how do you go about achieving that?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you are committed to growing as a professional. It also allows them to see what steps you have taken in the past to improve yourself and develop new skills.

Example: “Yes, I think it’s important to work on my personal development because it helps me grow professionally. In my last role, I started taking online courses through Coursera. I found this really helpful for learning new things and improving my knowledge of different subjects. I am currently enrolled in a course about marketing strategies.”

14. If hired, can you show up to work every day on time?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are reliable and dependable. They want employees who will show up on time every day, even during bad weather or other emergencies. In your answer, explain that you have a strong work ethic and always arrive at work on time. Explain that you understand the importance of being on time for work every single day.

Example: “I am someone with a very strong work ethic. I have never been late to work in my entire career. Even when there was an emergency, I made it to work as soon as possible. I know how important it is to be on time for work every single day. I would hate to let anyone down, including myself.”

15. What are some examples of feedback you have received from your previous managers?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your work ethic and how you respond to constructive criticism. When answering this question, it can be helpful to include specific examples of feedback you received from your manager that helped you improve in some way.

Example: “My previous manager once told me I needed to slow down when working with customers because I was moving too quickly for them to understand what I was saying. After receiving this feedback, I started speaking more slowly and clearly so my customers could understand me. This change helped me become a more effective employee.”

16. Would you describe yourself as organized? Give us an example.

Employers ask this question to see if you have the organizational skills needed for the job. They want someone who can keep track of inventory, customer orders and other important information. When answering this question, show that you are organized by giving an example from your past experience.

Example: “I am very organized. In my last position as a cashier at a grocery store, I had to make sure all of my transactions were accurate. This required me to be fast while also being careful not to make mistakes. I developed systems to help me stay on top of everything. For instance, I would separate receipts into different piles based on what they were. Then, I would organize them by date so I could find them later.”

17. Can you perform physical labor such as lifting heavy objects throughout your shift?

Big Lots employees may need to lift heavy objects during their shift. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re physically capable of doing so. In your answer, let the employer know that you can perform physical labor. Explain that you have the strength and endurance to do so throughout your shift.

Example: “Yes, I am able to perform physical labor such as lifting heavy objects throughout my shift. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in warehouses where we had to move large boxes of inventory. I’m used to lifting heavy objects and performing manual labor. I believe I have the strength and endurance to complete these tasks throughout my entire shift.”

18. Could you give us an example of a time when you had to solve a difficult problem without consulting your direct supervisor?

This question is designed to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to work independently. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide an example of a time you solved a problem that was not directly related to your job duties but helped the company in some way.

Example: “At my previous job, I noticed that our customers were having trouble finding certain products on our website. This led to them leaving the site before they could make a purchase. I decided to look into the issue further by testing out the website myself. After doing so, I realized that the search function wasn’t working properly. I contacted the IT department and explained the issue. They fixed the problem within 24 hours.”

19. We believe in giving back to our communities, what causes do you care about?

Big Lots wants to know that you are a compassionate person who cares about the well-being of others. They want to see if your values align with their own and how you might contribute to their company’s philanthropic efforts. When answering this question, it is important to show that you have empathy for those in need and can put forth effort to help them.

Example: “I am passionate about animal rights and would love to work at a company that shares my beliefs. I volunteer at an animal shelter once a week where I walk dogs and play with cats. I also donate money to organizations that support animals in need.”

20. When was the last time you went above and beyond for a customer?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your customer service skills. They want to know that you’re willing to go above and beyond for customers, even if it’s not part of your job description. Try to think of an example from your previous job where you went out of your way to help a customer.

Example: “When I worked at my last retail store, we had a customer who came in every week looking for a specific type of yarn. We didn’t carry it in our store, but I would always check online to see if any other stores in the area carried it. One day, I found one store that did have the yarn she was looking for. I drove there after work to buy some so I could give her the extra as a gift.”


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